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Blackhawkckc 03-31-2010 12:36 PM

To Nvidia or Not to Nvidia
 
Lately Ive been wanting to build a new PC and held off on doing so until the release of Nvidias 470\480 "fermi" cards. Now that they're out, Im not quite sure what to go with. The new Nvidia cards are not currently massively outperforming ATIs latest Radeon cards, and are almost $150 more expensive, with a much higher power draw. Im disappointed.
On the other hand, Nvidia has traditionally had much better linux support than ATI, at least in my experience. I haven't used an ATI card in almost 10 years. Maybe thats changed and I just don't know it.

Obviously (and sadly) id be gaming on my Win7 partition so that aspect isn't so relevant here.
Im running mandriva 2010 with KDE 4 on the linux side, should that matter.
My question is basically would I be better off with an ATI Radeon 5870 and NOT disappointed in graphics quality and driver issues in linux, or would I probably be better off sticking with Nvidia's latest offerings given their past linux support? Most benchmarks Ive seen over the past week are showing both cards to be nearly equal, with the Nvidia consuming far more power, producing far more heat, and making a lot more noise with the required fans, while costing much more. So as far as gaming i am for the first time in a decade considering ATI, but wonder how that will impact my linux experience.

dadrunamok 03-31-2010 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blackhawkckc (Post 3919321)
On the other hand, Nvidia has traditionally had much better linux support than ATI, at least in my experience. I haven't used an ATI card in almost 10 years. Maybe thats changed and I just don't know it.

My vote is firmly for the Nvidia card.

I recently had to change a perfectly good, but slightly aging ATI card because they decided to declare it "legacy" and stop supporting it in their driver package.
I bought an nvidia card of similar vintage as a replacement and it basically worked right out of the box for my Ubuntu 9.10 machine.

GrapefruiTgirl 03-31-2010 01:31 PM

Kind of a tough call.. I am surprised at the apparent difference in power consumption between two (comparable??) cards by each respective mfgr. Are the cards *really* comparable?

And I have no comment on the price difference (I like Intel over AMD -- it's more pricey, yes, but that's what I like, so I pay for it) so if you feel a product you like is worth its price, you'll probably pay for it over a cheaper product that is apparently as good, but from a mfgr you prefer less. All things being equal, of course pay less! But how do we know all things are equal? :)

My thoughts, based solely on my experiences with both brands (mostly nvidia), and what I read, but NOT based on anything scientific, would be to go with nvidia.

There are pros and cons to any argument like this:
  • ATI has maybe more open-sourcing going on WRT their driver(s), but nvidia provides a very good closed-source driver.
  • ATI seems to legacy-ize their hardware much more than is pleasant. nvidia actively supports myriad cards going waaay back.
  • historically, nvidia+linux has been easier to get working well on lots of system configurations, as opposed to ATI+linux.
  • from what I've read, the nvidia GUI (nvidia-settings) tool is apparently better than ATI's (if this matters to you)
  • Performance is probably pretty comparable, between comparable cards.
  • nvidia currently lags behind regarding XRandR support (i.e. dynamic reconfiguration of displays, etc..) and I haven't a clue where ATI is with this.
  • nvidia's developer zone offers a LOT of cool stuff :p like CUDA -- I have no idea how ATI is in the "stuff" department.

Note that much/all of what I've written, is based on how things ARE or HAVE BEEN-- and certainly everything has the potential to change in the future, from either company.

Either way you go, I hope you enjoy what you get!

Sasha

Blackhawkckc 03-31-2010 11:03 PM

Thank you to those of you who replied and answered my totally unscientific opinion-based poll. Im still undecided at this point, but i found the replies useful. Particularly Sasha's. Read your quotes too. You can bite my hand anytime you want. Maybe our boa's can hook up while you're biting.

To anyone else interested, here is a link to a review of the cards in question: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/...0_sli_review/1

And yes, the power draws are significantly different. Nvidia 480 SLI needing 595W JUST for the cards. Require 800+ W for the total system.

damgar 03-31-2010 11:32 PM

Nvidia's site seems to suggest that their driver doesn't support anything above the 2xx cards. I don't know about the real world, but http://www.nvidia.com/Download/Find.aspx?lang=en-us would have me doing some homework. For my own edification I would like to know. If anyone has done the legwork already please post.

Blackhawkckc 03-31-2010 11:37 PM

I have not looked for drivers for linux or windows for the 4xx series cards, but their official release date is not set for until the week of the 12th of April, I believe. Its possible they simply aren't there yet, but will be soon.

damgar 03-31-2010 11:41 PM

The driver site doesn't have anything for 300 series either. You can enter it, but it returns no results.

Blackhawkckc 03-31-2010 11:49 PM

Well, from what ive read, the 300 series is kind of a one-off deal. They're only available in certain pre-built machines. Not very popular or widespread. Should they have them? Probably. The fact that they dont though... not very surprising. Id check drivers for the 2xx series cards and see if the 300s are listed as included for those drivers.

Blackhawkckc 03-31-2010 11:58 PM

Hmm nope youre right. No linux drivers for the 300 series. *shrug* Not quite sure what to say to that, but they aren't popular cards. I dont think you can even buy 300 series alone, only in the pre-built machines which im sure all shipped with windows. So from that perspective there wouldnt really be a huge need to add linux support to them.

MTK358 04-01-2010 07:42 AM

xf86-video-ati FTW!

DragonSlayer48DX 04-01-2010 09:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GrapefruiTgirl (Post 3919376)
I like Intel over AMD -- it's more pricey, yes, but that's what I like, so I pay for it.

Same here-- Should've had a "None of the above" option in the poll.

I've never tried nVidia or ATI cards, but from what I see here quite frequently, they can be a real PITA to set up, sometimes. Furthermore, Intel submits their drivers for inclusion with the kernel, and their cards/chipsets have always worked perfectly for me; I've never found a reason to change.

Just my :twocents:

rayfward 04-02-2010 11:06 AM

I have to agree with both GrapefruiTgirl and DragonSlayer48DX that the Intel Graphics card works and reliably at that. Both Nvidia and ATI have P****d me off over the last 3 years. Nvidia product reliability seems to be falling and I disposed of my ATI card after it ended up being permanently zoomed. My Lapi's intel graphics card kept on working through 4 release upgrades. I vote for non of the above.

Blackhawkckc 04-02-2010 11:41 AM

Well as I said, I'm a gamer and while that is not so relevant for linux, personally I have to keep that in mind. I don't have a console, or want one. Intel is no where near ATI or Nvidia in that regard, so it's just not an option for me. Hence the lack of a "none of the above" option.

@MTK: I could just as easily say NV or nouveau FTW! Either of which may actually work with the 3xx series damgar was wondering about.

MTK358 04-02-2010 11:55 AM

Do NV or Nouveau support 3D acceleration yet?

3D works great in xf86-video-ati.

DragonSlayer48DX 04-02-2010 05:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blackhawkckc (Post 3921818)
Well as I said, I'm a gamer and while that is not so relevant for linux, personally I have to keep that in mind. I don't have a console, or want one. Intel is no where near ATI or Nvidia in that regard, so it's just not an option for me. Hence the lack of a "none of the above" option.

I don't understand where people get that idea. I'm also a gamer; I have several 3D first-shooter- and many other high resolution games for both Windows XP and Ubuntu, and my Intel chips have no problem on either platform.

Cheers


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